'Decision To Leave' (LFF Review): Park Chan-wook stuns with a captivating story of mystery and romance

'Decision To Leave' (LFF Review): Park Chan-wook stuns with a captivating story of mystery and romance
Tang wei and Park Hae-il in a still from 'Decision To Leave' (MUBI)

After a long wait of 6 years, legendary South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook is back with his highly anticipated thriller rom-com 'Decision To Leave'. Before talking about the plot, let me give you a reminder that the movie's plot is not easy to understand and it has a lot of twists and turns, which are basically the trademark of Chan-wook's style of filmmaking. 

'Decision To Leave' focuses on the lives of two people who are very different in nature, yet they have something similar in them. So, a  detective named Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) is investigating the murder, in which the victim's widow, Seo-rae (Tang Wei), turns out to be the prime suspect. However, as soon as he meets her, he is surprised by the fact that she's so charming. Slowly, he begins to form an emotional bond with her that manages to create a shadow over his judgement. In typical Park's fashion, the situation starts getting more complicated and we see Hae-jun's feelings becoming more obsessive. 

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A still from 'Decision To Leave' (MUBI)
A still from 'Decision To Leave' (MUBI)

If you are a movie lover, you can definitely see the shades of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' throughout the film. For Hae-jun, solving murders is not just a job, but something that gives meaning to his life. Meanwhile, Seo-rae has a flamboyant personality that makes her irresistible. Once they get together in the investigation and their new "friendship" starts  getting stronger, then viewers are forced to guess if Seo-rae is speaking the truth or not. Some expressions given by Seo-rae might feel a bit crazy and that's exactly what Park wanted. He has the extraordinary talent of playing with people's minds and develops characters that people can't fully understand. 

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The editing team has done a splendid job in making this movie a montage of inconclusive emotions.

A still from 'Decision To Leave' (MUBI)
A still from 'Decision To Leave' (MUBI)

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Apart from the editing and direction, the performances of the film's lead actors are also responsible for making this movie a must watch. Tang-wei is the soul of this movie and is the standout performer. On the other hand,  Park Hae-il gives another stellar performance as Detective Hae-jun. 

'Decision To Leave' is more smooth rhythm wise as compared to his earlier works. The movie takes you through a lot of emotions.
From joy and sorrow to love and disgust, the film will take you to a point where you'll finally say that you understand what's happening. However, as soon as you do that, the movie takes a u-turn and all you feel is empty inside.  My only problem with the movie was its direction. The film could have been a little shorter and it would have made it even more interesting. 

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This might not be Park's best film, but undoubtedly an extraordinary movie that announces the return of the legendary filmmaker. The movie is South Korea's official entry at next year's Oscars and it has already started to create a strong buzz.

'Decision To Leave' just proves that Park Chan-wook is a master filmmaker. It's a cracking romantic thriller that should be watched by one and all.

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